Buoys a dolphin safety reminder

Date posted: 13 February 2013

New buoys and signs are being installed in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary to remind water users to take care of the Port River’s favourite inhabitants.

Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Manager Cristina Vicente said while most locals knew and loved the dolphins, some visitors might not be aware of their presence.

“The buoys are already in the water and we are working with Flinders Ports to have dolphin signs put up on some of the beacons, rather like the kangaroo crossing signs we see on the road,” Cristina said.

“The buoys they’re a colourful reminder of the 7-knot speed limit that applies in some areas of the sanctuary.

“We must remember how lucky we are to share the dolphins’ habitat. If we want these beautiful animals to be around for the future, we need to take good care of them now.”

The sanctuary is the best place in Adelaide for dolphin watching, with a pod of about 30 of the mammals living in the river and another 300 visiting regularly.

The area is also home to New Zealand fur seals, Australian sea lions and many water bird species, including pelicans, egrets and cormorants.

Covering an area of 118 sq km, the sanctuary includes the inner Port, Barker Inlet, Outer Harbour and North Haven marina and reaches north to Port Gawler.

Cristina said it was especially important for water users to maintain the legal distance from marine mammals.

“Fines of up to $100,000 can apply for water users who do not stay 50m away from dolphins, or 150m if there is a calf present,” she said.

“A strike from a boat propeller or a jet ski can be fatal to any marine animal. Dolphins and whales can also become distressed if we get too close, especially if we are talking about a mother and calf.

“In severe cases, the pair could become separated permanently and that would mean certain death for the baby.”

Cristina said this did not mean that the dolphins could not come to us if they chose.

“If you are on the water and you see a dolphin close by, simply cut your engine or take your paddle out of the water and wait.

“They are naturally curious and playful and will often come quite close to boats of all sizes.

“Being in the sanctuary zone means you have an excellent chance of having a wonderful experience with the dolphins, but please make sure it’s on their terms.”

See more of the sanctuary and its inhabitants.

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Georgia Gowing
Media Adviser
0467 795 640